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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— Warren Buffett

The wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a twenty year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASD: ALXN) back in 2001. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 06/04/2001


End date: 06/01/2021
Start price/share: $6.51
End price/share: $175.86
Starting shares: 1,536.10
Ending shares: 1,536.10
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 2,601.38%
Average annual return: 17.91%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $270,025.54

The above analysis shows the twenty year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 17.91%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $270,025.54 today (as of 06/01/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 2,601.38% (something to think about: how might ALXN shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“Though tempting, trying to time the market is a loser’s game.” — Christopher Davis